By Jean Roque, Trupp HR.

By the time most employers get around to making a job offer, one-third of offered candidates will have already accepted another job and a quarter of candidates will be disappointed with the salary and benefits offered1. To capture top talent in a candidate-driven labor market, employers need to considerably step up their game.

1. Scrutinize required job qualifications.

Does the right candidate really need five years’ experience doing the exact same work in the exact same industry? Many applicants may be eager and ready to learn and contribute, but merely need a bit more training and experience. Boosting your onboarding and training program positions your company to capture great talent without waiting around (and paying for) the elusive “perfect employee.”

2. Shorten the interview process.

More than half of job seekers believe companies are too slow with the hiring process2. To shorten this timeline, clearly define the interview and decision-making process and players up front, including reducing the number of interviews and time between steps. Also, don’t underestimate the value of gaining buy-in from all involved parties (recruiters, interviewers and decision makers) for the need to have a timely and efficient process.

3. Offer competitive salary and benefits.

Today’s candidates are typically aware of what the market should be paying for their skills. Unless your company is established as a high-demand employer or attracts candidates based on a compelling employee value proposition, you should be prepared to offer a salary and benefit package that is competitive. Extending a low-ball offer is likely to result in a lost opportunity.

4. Show your interest.

If your company is grounded in an employer-centric philosophy that approaches the interview process as a “one-way street,” it may be time for a wake-up call.  Candidates are shopping you just as much as you are shopping them. Embracing transparency and effectively communicating how your workplace is supporting and engaging its workforce, will go a long ways toward landing candidates who align with and appreciate your culture.

5. Communicate frequently.

74% of employers are failing at keeping applicants informed about where they are at with their hiring decision2. By maintaining frequent and professional communications, your company can easily distinguish itself from other employers while giving the candidate a glimpse into how your company values and respects its employees.

1 Whether Employers Realize It Or Not, It’s Now a Candidate-Driven Market, John Zappe, TLNT.COM
2 CareerBuilder 2013 Candidate Behavior Study